An 86-year-old man whose bank manager was sacked after she helped him open his post and pay his bills has described the decision as “horrendous”.
Clifford Weedon had been assisted by Lloyds branch manager Nadia Begum as he became visually impaired.
Lloyds said its decision was based on ensuring customers were protected by its “colleague code of responsibility”.
But Mr Weedon said any suggestion he was taken advantage of in any way was “absolutely ridiculous”.
He told the BBC he befriended Ms Begum at the Carfax branch in Oxford, but as his eyesight grew worse she became a “godsend”.
He said: “It’s absolutely horrendous how they have treated Nadia. This is not a sackable offence. What she has done for me is fantastic.
“If you’ve got a bank manager, you want them to look after your welfare, and she’s done that for four years.
“Within those years my eyesight went, I can’t hear or see very much.”
He added: “This poor girl is shattered, that’s her livelihood out the window.”
Both Mr Weedon and Ms Begum said when the bank found out about their friendship it carried out an investigation, but no illegal activity was discovered.
Ms Begum said: “They checked my bank accounts with a fine toothcomb because I think they thought there was monetary gain in it for me, which there absolutely was not.
“Basically it came down to me getting the sack for not telling Lloyds that I got friendly with a customer.
“Our rules would say you shouldn’t, but somebody could scam him or take advantage.
“I knew if I was doing it I was looking after his welfare instead of a stranger.”
She added: “I put my hands up – I made a mistake in not telling them, however they’re forgetting the human touch.
“It’s like with Covid, everyone’s trying to go above and beyond for people, and that’s all I was doing.”
In a statement Lloyds Bank said: “Supporting and protecting our customers is our absolute priority, to ensure this happens we have a colleague code of responsibility in place to safeguard both our colleagues and customers.
“In this instance our standards were not met.”